Investigating the effects of a plant extract-based product and chitosan on the incidence of Fusarium diseases of wheat

  • Oral Presentation
  • Plant Pathology
  • 12 Jun 2018 12:10
  • FS-G01, UCD Agriculture and food science Centre
  • View all IPSAM abstracts

Myriam Deshaies*
University College Dublin

Fiona Doohan
University College Dublin

Patrick Ward

*Presenting Author

The fungus Fusarium graminearum causes Fusarium head blight of wheat and produces mycotoxins in grains, resulting in up to 50% yield losses. This project aims to investigate the effect of two products on this disease; a plant extract-based product (Auranta Harvest, produced by the company Auranta), and chitosan, derived from chitin, a polysaccharide that can be found in fungal cell walls. Experiments were conducted in vitro to establish their direct antifungal activities against F. graminearum and other fungi. To determine their impact on the fungal infection, wheat heads were inoculated with F. graminearum spores or Tween-20 at mid-anthesis under glasshouse conditions. The heads were treated one day before or after inoculation with water, Auranta Harvest or chitosan. Infection percentages were assessed at days 7, 14 and 21 post-inoculation, and yield analysis was performed. The in vitro experiments demonstrated that both products significantly reduced the fungal growth. Regarding the glasshouse trial, in pre-inoculation treatments the infection severity was significantly lower for the treatment with chitosan compared to the treatment with water while no effect was measured for the treatment with Auranta Harvest. A significant increase in grain production was observed in plants treated with chitosan. In post-inoculation treatments, the infection severity was significantly reduced by both Auranta Harvest and chitosan. However, there was no impact on the yield with any of the treatments. The results show that Auranta Harvest does not stimulate resistance to Fusarium infection, but that it may have an antifungal activity. They also show that chitosan may enhance wheat resistance against Fusarium head blight, and that it could have an antifungal activity. Further studies are being performed to elucidate the fungicidal and/or plant defence mechanism elicitation effects of the products.